Cancer Research Horizons and Lean Life Science launch the Oncology Development Programme (ODP2) to accelerate high impact novel cancer innovations

Published date:
November 17 2022
  • Targeted programme to identify and accelerate novel oncology innovations into commercially attractive assets
  • Supported by unique insights from a collaboration of leading pharma, CROs, and subject matter experts in residence from across the global oncology R&D ecosystem.

Alderley Edge, UK – 17 November 2022: Today Lean Life Science (LLS), an organisation dedicated to catalysing innovation in life science through partnership, announces the opening of its flagship Oncology Development Programme – ODP2. In collaboration with four of the top ten global pharma companies, Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Research Horizons, Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) and over 20 specialist contract research organisations, ODP2 aims to identify, de-risk and catalyse commercially viable UK-based innovations to improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer and accelerate the translation of emerging cancer research for patient benefit.

Applications are sought from academics and early-stage companies with a defined oncology-focused innovation. ODP2 will give the next big UK-based breakthroughs in oncology access to bespoke expert scientific review, clinical study design, technical gap analysis, financial / business value modelling and integrated project planning. 

Up to 100 oncology innovations will be selected by the Programme Faculty Panel, to participate in a fully immersive one-day virtual masterclass on Friday 13 January 2023. Hearing directly from pharma, investors and other key industry experts, participants will gain insights into how oncology assets are assessed and developed. Participants will also receive a detailed overview of the programme and hear the first-hand experiences of previous participants.

Delivered by a unique team of seasoned oncology R&D professionals, commercial, and investment specialists, ODP2 consists of three parts. Part one is the fully immersive one-day masterclass; Part two is a three-day deep dive into the highly successful Lean Life Science approach to developing oncology assets and securing investment and is an opportunity to engage directly with pharma and CRO experts; Part three, by application, will see selected participants work closely with the partners to create and validate the integrated plans necessary to ensure successful development and attract potential funding. 

Ned Wakeman, CEO of Lean Life Science, commented: “I’m very pleased to be launching ODP2 in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, and to be officially announcing the opening of the application period. I am excited to drive this second oncology development programme. We have a proven approach which, in collaboration with our experienced sector experts, accelerates development of all participants’ innovations into more commercially viable and attractive investment opportunities.”

Tony Hickson, Chief Business Officer at Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Horizons, said: "Building on the tremendous success of last years’ Alderley Park oncology development programme which engaged over 80 innovations from across the UK’s oncology community, we're delighted to celebrate the launch of ODP2 as part of our Entrepreneurial Programmes Initiative. Again under the experienced guidance of the Lean Life Science team, ODP2 will continue to support the development of entrepreneurship among the UK’s cancer researchers with its unique comprehensive approach. Once again, I look forward to following the progress of the successful applicants as their innovations make the journey from bench to bedside."

Professor Rob Bristow, Director, Manchester Cancer Research Centre, added: “We are delighted to support ODP2 to encourage innovation at the interface of academia and industry as at the end of the day we are all here to bring new, potentially lifesaving treatments to patients. We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide the clinical insights which are so critical in the successful translation of innovations that deliver patient benefit.”

For more information on applying for the programme, visit:

About Lean Life Science

Founded by veteran development programme expert and former investment banker, Ned Wakeman, Lean Life Science was created with the goal of catalysing innovation in the life science sector through partnership.   Lean Life Science is focused on leveraging its unique network of partnerships with global pharma, contract research organisations, subject matter experts, and investors and through its Innovation Development Framework™ (IDF) to provide the critical insights and validated delivery plans needed to accelerate the translational journey of life science innovations into highly desirable, de-risked, investable opportunities.

About ODP2

ODP2 – full name: The Oncology Development Programme 2 – is the first in a series of development programmes from industry expert Lean Life Science. In collaboration with Cancer Research UK, ODP2 is a unique collaboration of global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, research institutions and public bodies that will identify oncology innovations and leverage their combined insight and expertise to nurture them into investment ready opportunities.

Each successful participant will receive a bespoke package of support, that ranges from mentoring through to active participation in the applicants’ company. ODP2 will help participants develop fully validated, timed, costed, project plans with the right delivery partners. With these vital materials innovators significantly increase their chance of attracting the investment required to enable delivery of the potential patient benefit.

The goal of ODP2 is to give the next big breakthroughs in Oncology the expertise they need in scientific review, critical path analysis, business case planning and validated project plans that de-risk and maximise potential for commercial success.

About Cancer Research Horizons 

Cancer Research Horizons is the innovation engine of Cancer Research UK – the world’s largest charitable funder of cancer research.  We bring together world-leading minds, bold ideas and the right partners to bridge the gap between academic research and taking drugs to market. We focus on the tougher, more profound ideas that can lead to true innovation, translating them into effective treatments and diagnostics for cancer patients.  

To date, we’ve played an instrumental role in forming over 60 spin-out companies. We’ve helped bring 11 cancer drugs to market, borne out of Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research. Through these drugs, we have enabled in excess of 6 million courses of treatment for cancer patients across the world. 

With access to Cancer Research UK’s network of 4000 exceptional researchers, and £400+ million of annual research spend, we’re a powerful partner in the fight to conquer cancer. By uniting our commercial partnerships and therapeutic innovation capabilities, Cancer Research Horizons is uniquely placed to support translational funding, licensing and collaboration, spin out creation, and offer a full spectrum of drug discovery and clinical capabilities. 

Every penny we make goes back into funding the next bold steps, to help bring forward the day when all cancers are conquered.



For more information about the Oncology Development Programme contact:


Martyn Bottomley

Regional Translation Lead

Search and Evaluation

[email protected]